Tillerson says he’ll ensure smooth transition after being fired
Outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday said he’ll remain on the job until March 31 to carry out a smooth transition in his first remarks since being fired by President Trump.
“What is most important is to ensure an orderly and smooth transition during a time that the country continues to face significant policy and national security challenges,” Tillerson said at the State Department.
He also said he would delegate his responsibilities to Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan.
During his address, he saluted his colleagues in the State Department, partners in the US intelligence agencies and members of the armed forces.
But he did not Trump.
“To my foreign service officers, and civil service colleagues, we all took the same oath of office, whether you are career, employee or a political appointee, we are all bound by that common commitment,” he said.
He went through a list of accomplishments, including forcing North Korea to the bargaining table, but said there is still work to be done in Syria, stabilizing Iraq and defeating the Islamic State.
He took a special shot at Russia.
”Russia must assess carefully as to how its actions are in the best interest of the Russian people in the world more broadly,” he said. “Continuing on their current trajectory is likely to lead to greater isolation on their part, a situation which is not in anyone’s interest.”
Trump announced he was firing Tillerson in a tweet on Tuesday and said he would nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him.